the theatrical and performative act of sensationalised femininity, masculinity or other gender expression; taking the traditional or stereotypical gender presentation to a new hyper, artistic or surrealistic degree – typically, in the process, creating a character distinct from one’s own.
It is incredibly important for the art and act of Drag to not be conflated with transgender identities; these are two distinct things. Although there are Drag performers who are also transgender or identify as nonbinary, Drag performers, by default, are not transgender – many are cisgender. Drag is temporary: it exists for the entirety of one’s performance or night out, much like with an actor’s character.
There may be many shared features between, for example, transvestism/cross-dressing and Drag, such as character or identity creating, and there is no firm, fixed line that can separate’s what constitutes Drag and what is cross-dressing without Drag, although typically it is the intention (e.g. drag is typically for art or performance).
Cisgender performers who perform sensationalised versions of their sex assigned at birth are known as faux queens and faux kings; that is, drag queens that are cisgender and assigned female at birth are known as faux queens, and drag kings that are cisgender and assigned male at birth are known as faux kings.
However, increasingly, the use of the “faux” label has been disregarded by the drag community as irrelevant and problematic, with transphobic implications; however, some “faux” kings and queens have embraced the identity.
Originally published: 7th December, 2020
Last modified: 7th December, 2020